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tv   Politics Nation  MSNBC  February 9, 2012 6:00pm-7:00pm EST

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2 more points from iffy voters who tend to decide these elections. that's "hardball" for you. thanks for being with us. "politics nation" with al sharpton starts right now. welcome to "politics nation." i'm al sharpton. tonight's lead -- the republicans have no idea who they are as a party. but they do agree on one thing, they'll say anything and do anything to bring down the president. this was on full display today at the conservative political action conference. >> i can guarantee you that coach tom coughlin last week did not tell his giants to go out on the field and to work with those other guys. compromise works well in this world when you have shared goals. but we don't have shared goals with the democrats, folks. >> no shared goals, senator demint? senator demint has no shared
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goals with the president who said this about helping troubled homeowners today? >> we are americans, and we look out for one another. we get each other's backs. >> looking out for americans. that's not a goal that's shared by the republican party because they have a different goal. their goal is denying the president credit for anything. >> he'll be pointing to bin laden. he'll be pointing to the overthrow of gadhafi. he'll be pointing to the arab spring as his foreign policy success story. and while without a shadow of a doubt, the world is better off without bin laden and without gadhafi, these are tactical successes. >> pardon me? getting rid of bin laden was just a tactical success? he just tactically died? and that's somehow different from a real success?
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folks, this is the same old story on the economy. >> everything got worse. the unemployment went up, the debt went up, the economy slowed down. everything got worse. >> so if i were president obama, i'd keep the champagne on ice. this is not an economy to be proud of. >> there is nothing this president has done that makes this economy better. >> nothing? nothing? 23 straight months of private sector job growth is nothing? 3.7 million new jobs is nothing? they are so bent on denying him credit that they are making up stories about what president obama has or has not said. >> i think all we need to look at is the state of the union. >> if you noticed the president talked about a lot of things. one thing he didn't talk about was his record. he didn't talk a lot about his record. >> senator rubio, you were in the audience at the state of the
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union. i guess you missed this. >> businesses have created more than 3 million jobs. last year, they created the most jobs since 2005. american manufacturers are hiring again. creating jobs for the first time since the late 1990s. together, we have agreed to cut the deficit by more than $2 trillion. and we put in place new rules to hold wall street accountable. we bet on american workers. we bet on american ingenuity. and tonight, the american auto industry is back. >> joining me now is melissa harris perry, soon to be host of msnbc's "melissa harris perry." and she's also a professor at -- of political science at tulane. and steve kornacki, political columnist for the salon.com.
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thank you both for joining me. can republicans win with the message built solely on attacking president obama? >> maybe. you know, and that's part of why they are tactically making this choice. one of my dear colleagues, john aldridge, his theory about why political parties exist is a pretty straightforward theory. and it goes like this. political parties exist in order to elect candidates to office. full stop. and so the republican party at this point when it says our number one goal is to get this president out and to elect a republican is not doing something inherently bad. in other words, it's doing what a party does. i think the problem is exactly as you pointed to in the introduction. if they are willing in the work of, you know, saying we have better ideas. we think we have better candidates, what you can't do is, one, actually work against economic recovery which we've seen this republican party do by cutting public sector jobs just as private sector jobs are being
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added. and, two, you can't actually work against sort of what's -- what is working both in terms of foreign policy and domestic policy. and i think that's the ugliness here. not trying to -- >> the other thing you might need is to have better candidates, but we will have a technicality. steve, let me say this to you. one person -- a cpac veteran, really, at this conference said this. the one thing that unites everybody is the hatred of barack obama. but hatred of the president is not a governing philosophy. that's craig shirley saying that who was not only a cpac veteran but one of the biographers of ronald reagan. >> yeah. the broader backdrop for this conference is kind of interesting to me because it's coming at a moment when there's really been the best economic news of barack obama's presidency. now it may turn out five, six months from now we look back and say it was a mirage and the economy was actually going to stall again but there's actually reason to believe right now the
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economy really is improving. people are really starting to feel it. and barack obama is going to bounce back because of it. and you look at the rhetoric that's taking place at a conference like this. there's really nothing new here. nothing that anybody at this conference is saying they didn't say in 2011 or 2010 or 2009. the contempt for obama. resentment of obama has always been there. the trap that the republicans may have fallen into is believing those attitudes, that those sentiments were shared by the broad ear, the country at large. the economy really is coming back, most americans really do like president obama. they really do hope he succeeds. they've been hoping he succeeds. they vote for him when he's in a bad place, but -- >> even when the economy was worse he was getting favorables in terms of liking him. melissa, let me ask you this then. the tone has been so personal. the attacks on him are not policy driven but personal. look at some of these comments.
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>> the president seems to have forgotten he wasçó elected to ld all americans. he was elected to be president of the united states, not the occupy wall street fan club. >> the president of the united states looks like he's a really good father. looks like he's a really good husband. but he is a terrible president. >> i mean, that's kind of a real personal tone. all of this happened today. he looks like he's a good father. we have a little doubt there and suggesting maybe i'm overly sensitive to rubio, but i mean, melissa, don't you pick up a very personal tone in all of this? >> well, i do. certainly it's been the personal tone they've had since january 20th, 2009. this idea of attacking president obama as a person. you know, often just sort of leveling these critiques that don't make sense. socialist or radical, frightening muslim. all of these things that are really just name calling. and typically, when people fall
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into name calling, it's because they simply don't have ideas that can stack up with the ideas they are trying to challenge. and i think, by the walker that's really bad for our democracy. my sense of the democratic party does not have all the right answers to absolutely everything. and the part of what we need to have a robust democratic process is to have a smart party full of republicans with alternative ideas so that we can actually work together, find some kind of middle ground and, by the way, that's actually been president obama's tone from the beginning. there's actually nothing wrong with an exchange of ideas, but name calling and that kind of personal attack almost always means they are devoid of ideas. >> i want to talk about something else that's getting a lot of attention at cpac today. it's the president's ruling on contraceptives. take a listen. >> the obama administration has crossed a dangerous line. and we will fight this attack on the fundamental right to religious freedom until the
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courts overturn it or until we have a president who will reverse it. >> one thing is for certain, this attack on religious freedom cannot and will not stand. >> now i don't know what the south african constitution says about these things, but i know what the u.s. constitution says about it. and what it says is that the federal government does not have the power to force lere lidgeuous organizations to pay for things that that organization thinks is wrong. >> what bothers me about these speakers today is that they are either unaware of what is being proposed or totally misleading the people listening to them at cpac. this has nothing to do with directing religious institutions to do anything. it has everything to say. if religious institutions have other service agencies that they are going to have as a part of whatever they give their respective communities -- hospitals or schools -- they have to follow the law.
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this has nothing to do with their church. nobody is coming in saying the catholic church or any other church has to change its theology, has tofá change its dogma. but if you step outside of the church and you want to run a hospital, if you want to sponsor a school, you've got to operate it under the same employees laws as anybody else in america. and if your religion forbids that, then you just don't apply to run the hospital or the school. i mean, it's really not that complicated. and how does this end up on a war on religion and the first amendment? what are you talking about? you want to open up something, you follow the law of anybody else in that business. melissa? >> also particularly obscene because they feel fine taking religious beliefs and pushing them into secular areas. for example, marriage. the idea that the argument against marriage equality is because certain religions believe that marriage is between one man and one woman and, therefore, that should be imposed. or, for example, termination of
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a pregnancy that because one religion or some set of religions hold that to be a sin, that should, therefore, be illegal. i am fine with a set of religious beliefs but there is law and we exist in a secular government. and then there's a set rev lidgeuous beliefs that should be able to operate freely and with no government fed tter. >> this is not about same-sex marriage. this is not about women's right to choose. let me give you an example. mother jones writes in december of 2000, the equal employment opportunity commission ruled that companies that provided prescription drugs to their employees but didn't provide birth control were in violation of title vii of the 1964 civil rights act. that opinion which the george w. bush administration did nothing to alter, or withdraw when it took office the next month, is still in effect today.
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so this is already law. bush did nothing about it. these republicans that were up there saying what they said today did not propose anything about xdit. all of a sudden, when the hhs under president obama has to rule it becomes a war on religion. why wasn't it a war on religion under george bush? this law was there then? >> in an odd way this tells you something. if you are the obama white house you have to almost be encouraged by this. it's because the republicans if they had their way, would be talking about the economy right now. the entire republican bet from january 2009 on was that they could express reflexive opposition to anything obama did, anything he proposed and they'd get away with and be rewarded for it because theuf economy would be so bad that people would just side with them. there's this broader backdrop against which all this is playing out where the economy actually seems to be improving now. when the republicans start moving away from that economic message and start talking about things like this, which really is a raw, almost naked play to
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their face and worst assumptions about who obama is and what he represents. when they do that, they show they are losing on the economy. >> steve and melissa, thanks for coming on the show tonight. melissa, we're looking forward to your new show. "melissa harris-perry." it debuts here on msnbc in nine days. how do i know? because i'm counting. nine days, february 18th. >> thanks. ahead -- willard under fire. conservatives have never been more concerned about him, and he's going smack into the conservative lion's den tomorrow. this is going to get interesting. plus -- speaking of mitt. he's trying to retool his message as president obama is trying to retool the economy. major announcement protecting homeowners today. and you know by the company you keep. if that phrase is true, republicans have a major problem. we're tearing back the curtain
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on a white nationalist leader sharing the cpac spotlight. you're watching "politics nation" on msnbc. [ male announcer ] to the 5:00 a.m. scholar. the two trains and a bus rider. the "i'll sleep when it's done" academic. for 80 years, we've been inspired by you. and we've been honored to walk with you to help you get where you want to be. ♪ because your moment is now. let nothing stand in your way. learn more at keller.edu. today is gonna be an letimportant day for us.r way. you ready? we wanna be our brother's keeper. what's number two we wanna do? bring it up to 90 decatherms. how bout ya, joe? let's go ahead and bring it online.
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the big conservative festival known as cpac kicked off today with all the big gop leaders. but a man identified as a white nationalist leader was sharing the big stage with them. it's troubling. that's next. is back. get soup, salad, cheddar bay biscuits, dessert and choose one of 7 entrees. four courses for only $15. offer ends soon. i'm jody gonzalez, red lobster manager and i sea food differently. in absolute perfect physical condition and i had a heart attack right out of the clear blue... he was just... "get me an aspirin"... yeah...
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this year, the conservative cpac summit is more extreme and exclusionary than ever. organizers have banned the gay republican group go proud because of their, quote, behavior and attitude. but they are perfectly happy to welcome a man who promotes racist views. at 12:30 today, an activist named peter brimelow was among the speakers at a panel called the failure of multiculturalism. brimelow is an anti-immigrant writer who founded a website called vdarenot.com identified as a white nationalist hate group. articles posted on his website say that america is, quote, a white nation for white people. these articles say jews are, quote, weakening america's historic white majority and immigrants are displacing
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native-born americans. this is the kind of guy who is rubbing elbows today with the republican elite. these are the views being welcomed on one of the gop's biggest events of the year. joining me now is michael keegan, president of the progressive group people for the american way. he's calling on gop presidential candidates to denounce the presence of this white journalist and joe madison of "mornings with madison" on sirius xm radio. thank you both for being here. >> thank you. >> mr. keegan, let me ask you, how can a guy like this be allowed to speak at the conference and not be denounced by the leaders there? >> it's a good question. if this is how you start your conference, then what does it mean about this entire thing with cpac? i think the key thing and what we have called for is that newt gingrich, rick santorum and mitt romney should really speak out against it because there really should be no place for this type
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of dialogue in politics today. i mean, it is pure and simple hatred. and the subtitle of the panel should be mentioned as well because they talk about how the pursuit of diversity is weakening american identity. i mean, this is on the program. so you can imagine -- >> so this is on the formal program? >> right. >> and the subtitle of the formal program was how diversity is weakening america? >> weakening the american identity. >> now, in case people think maybe that like someone else was saying, he didn't know what was on this site, let me play what he, peter brimelow, said after the election in november of 2008 on how republicans can win the next election. let me show you. >> mobilize the white base. get them to turn out. if it did that, even without actually cutting off immigration, they could continue to win national elections for quite a long time.
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>> mobilize the white vote. mobilize the white base. so here's an open call for this. and when you look at some of the climate that you and i have been talking about, joe, maybe some of those that are in these primaries and caucuses are quietly taking that advice. >> well, they very well may be. this -- there is no place on the planet where there is not multiculturalism. i mean, there's multiculturalism in iceland. maybe what he ought to do is take newt gingrich's advice and go to a moon colony because that's the only place you might not find diversity. the bottom line is, here's a man who not only is anti-black, anti-immigrant. now, remember, he's an immigrant himself. but this is a man who had the conspiracy theory going that
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jewish people, in fact, are orchestrating a movement to diversify america. this is a man who by the way believed in the bell curve. he supported the bell curve. the bell curve was the book that said that whites -- or argued that whites are intellectually superior to blacks. so it's not only that i think the candidates ought to denounce it, but quite candidly, i think they shouldn't have shown up in protest. you do not give someone the spotlight who has a fault like this. finally, reverend sharpton, i am, in a way, pleased that they are doing this because what's going to happen is that there's going to be a backlash, particularly among young african-americans, young hisp hispanics and young white people who now live in the 21st century and do not want to have anything to do with this neanderthal
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thinking. >> now let me ask you, mr. keegan. many of us have found ourselves with extremists we're around and had to denounce the ideas anyway and say we were not party to that. we don't agree with those ideas. has any of the republican leaders responded to your call? has any of the candidates responded to your call to denounce what this guy is saying? >> not yet, but we feel there's one more day. and we hope they do respond to it. i think the important thing to point out is that there's always going to be raceanism the world. but to start off a forum like this, with this tone and with this title and with white supremacists that he really is, as joe mentioned, it really is something that all americans should speak out against no matter who they are because it really has no place in main stream discourse. >> and governor romney is speaking tomorrow? >> he is speaking tomorrow. >> he has not responded to this call by you to say something? >> he has not.
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it's important to note in the 2008 election, john mccain refused the endorsement of several people that he thought had extremist views. >> i give him credit for that. >> absolutely. >> in fact, someone i don't agree with much on, bernard goldberg of fox news contributor, very conservative, let me show you what he said on o'reilly's show monday night. >> there is a strain of bigotry, and that's the word i want to use, running through conservative america. there is a strain of bigotry. and it goes against gay people, for instance. in the middle of the last century in the 1950s and 1960s, there was another strain of bigotry on the right and it was against black people. that has to leave the conservative movement. i am immensely uncomfortable with the bigotry on the right. >> again, i mean, he and i don't agree on much, but he is saying he's uncomfortable, joe. i think that clearly this is not
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something that is a far left point of view. this is something all of us that believe in what is right need to stand up and say, wait a minute. we can't have it on any side. extremism on any side of this -- of the american discussion at this point. >> in america, we have to prevent being culturally conditioned to believe that one race is superior to another and, therefore, you undervalue, underestimate and marginalize black people, brown people or people of color. what has made america great, what has made parties great, what has made politics great. what did the world recognize 20 -- november 2008? that we dreamed something that we didn't think was possible and the world stood up and applauded the united states of america when barack obama was elected. and we all felt that we had
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accomplished something that was historic in nature. there is no room, except maybe on the moon colony for this mr. brimelow. >> well, i wouldn't even do that on the moon. there's no room for xreemp ip on either side and all of us have to be straight up about it if we find ourselves in that situation. >> thank you for your time tonight. >> thank you. still ahead -- the effort to save willard romney's campaign. it's no secret anymore. that's next. [ female announcer ] feeling that flu all over your body?
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because it whitens by removing up to 80% of surface stains. see how it can change your life. crest 3d white. life opens up when you do. we're back with what's becoming a theme on this show. willard's woes. folks, he's in all kinds of trouble. still reeling from three devastating losses this week. and now the conservative worries about him are hitting its peak. they have a clear message to willard. step it up. today, "the wall street journal" editorial board attacked him for his, quote, inability or unwillingness to defend conservative principles. in this brand new headline reads suddenly romney country seems like no sure thing. ouch. and it couldn't come at a worse
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time. tomorrow he'll be right smack in the middle of the conservative lion's den when he speaks at the cpac conference. the same place he ended his presidential campaign four years ago. it's there he's expected to retool his message. but will anyone buy it? a poll out this week shows 52% of americans like willard less as they learn more about him. and the guy who wants to face president obama is surging on with his message of fairness. the president's leading romney by six-point margin. today's speech could make or break the moment for him. joining me now, bob franken, a kings feature syndicated columnist and erin mcpeak of real clear politics. thank you both for being here tonight. bob, how much trouble is mitt really in? >> well, you used the word
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willard woes. i've been calling it mitt's malaise. the problem, he's getting the advice he's getting from just about everybody is that he needs to better define himself and his conservative beliefs. so all his crew of inventors are trying to come up with something that he can go before a cpac tomorrow and describe the passionate feelings that he has. but how do you market passionate expedeience which has really been the hallmark of his career. he goes the way the wind blows and i'm sure tomorrow he'll be trying replace it with red meat for the people gathered there. >> erin it looks like with all of the gop horses and all of the gop men, they can't put willard back together again. look how some of the conservative senators are starting to come down on mitt romney. there is not exactly romney mania right now says senator jon kyl of arizona. playing it safe is not going to get it for him, says senator
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demint. he's going to have to work really hard to pull things together, senator boozman. these are all republican senators that are saying this about who is supposed to be the inevitable nominee at a time president obama is on the other side of the political spectrum. today announcing the need to help americans who have been foreclosed on. now contrast that with what romney thinks we should do about the mortgage crisis. watch the president here. >> you work and you save your entire life to buy a home. that's where you raise your family. that's where your kids' memories are formed. that's your stake, your claim on the american dream. there's no excuse for doing nothing to help more families avoid foreclosure. that's not who we are. we are americans and we look out for one another. >> don't try and stop the foreclosure process. let it run its course and hit
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the bottom. >> you couldn't have a more striking contrast. >> right. well, here's the thing. mitt romney would love to be talking about the economy right now and other economic issues. but he's been forced into talking about social issues because he's now in this contest with rick santorum who is this diehard social conservative who, as we've talked about, had these three big victories on tuesday night. now as far as the housing piece is concerned, the clips you were just playing, mitt romney has not yet put out his own housing plan and i think he wants to do that later once he becomes the nominee as many of us still expect that he will be in the general election. and is sort of saving that for then. but i think you're right. he hasn't really had a chance to talk about that as this republican primary rages on. >> well, now let me ask you this, bob. he goes before cpac tomorrow. and if he's going to get a good
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reception, he's going to have to even move further to the right. while all of this time he's having to fight off his right flank, the president is just one right after the other coming right down the middle, good unemployment numbers. the best we've seen in awhile. jobs, foreclosure stuff, he's talking to the american people while willard is often fighting with newton and now santorum. >> well, you know, you bring up an interesting point here which is that the explanation for rick santorum's re-re-emergence. i've lost track of how many times he's been down and up. but we've had consistently through this whole primary, republican party with a large abm contingent, which is anybody but mitt. now there is an abn one, too and that's anybody but newt. while they think mitt is somebody who is undefined, they've defined newt gingrich as too flaky and too nafty to
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really appeal. so now we have rick santorum who is riding up from the right even further from the right and capturing the imagination, at least momentarily, of the republicans. now we have this thing tomorrow where mitt romney is going to try and escape with his life. by the way, you aren't speaking there tomorrow, are you? >> it's not on my schedule. >> yeah, i didn't think so. but i wanted to make sure. but you will be -- will have mitt romney trying his best to look like he's one of them as he's always trying to do. and then you'll have the others pointing out why he is not. >> now erin, when you look at the polls, "washington post" poll shows president obama has more support from independents than romney. and that's up because romney was leading with independents. and romney's favorability ratings with americans have tanked. he's unfavorable by 49%. only favorable by 31%. how do you flip this around? all that money he's spending,
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he's been running for five years, and his unfavorable numbers are much higher than his favorable? >> you know, we haven't gotten to see a ton of mitt romney's personality. you know, that's been sort of hidden from us for a long time as they tried to continue to hit this economic message. but in the last few weeks, the romney campaign has made a concerted effort to try to humanize mitt romney more, which is why just yesterday he opened up a little bit more about his mormon faith and you are seeing his children, his five sons, out on the campaign trail more. and talking about their experiences with him and mitt romney's own experiences over the last 30 or so years. so an effort to get into more of the man that's mitt romney while they continue to attack their republican opponents. >> his son even sent out a tweet about -- something about 15 years old where the time that
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mitt romney rescued a 14-year-old kidnap victim which i commend if he did. but when you contrast the fact they are just beginning to roll that out, americans have seen president obama, seen his family, seen the kind of person he is. how does he catch up after all of this back and forth, the posters, or the pictures of him with the money and bain capital, his saying what he said about poor people, corporations are people, the dog strapped to the top of the car. i mean, they have a large hill to climb here, bob. >> well, look. mitt romney has always had the problem that he comes across to many at least as an avatar. and so now we're getting these stories about his humanity and a lot of people are going to be suspicious that this is just some sort of contrived story to try and overcome the automoton image that he has. if you ever saw "camelot," there's a song where they ask
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the musical question, what do the simple folk do? you always get the impression from mitt romney that he's puzzling over that one, too. >> i don't know about camelot but i've 19politics a few chameleons. bob franken and erin mcpike. thank you for joining me tonight. up next -- the gop attack machine in overdrive. we're getting the facts on fast and furious and those calls for attorney general holder to resign. [ male announcer ] succeeding in today's market
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[ mom ] i think it's fine. it's the new element from at&t so it's w-a-t-e-r proof. cool. what else does it d-o? it's fast. it's 4g lte. what's l-t-e spell? nothing. w-h-y? hey, can we stop spell talking now? ok. a-y. [ male announcer ] buy a waterproof pantech element for $249.99 and get a 4g burst smartphone free. only from at&t. republicans have been in full attack mode over what they call the fast and furious gun walking scandal. fast and furious was a program where the government allowed guns to fall into the hands of smauglers in the hopes of tracing those guns to mexican drug cartels. republicans charged the program is a major scandal and they have relentlessly attacked the attorney general eric holder.
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>> they made a crisis, and they are using this crisis to somehow take away or limit people's second amendment right. >> you are treating him as a hostile witness. you caught him in lies. >> you want him out, why? >> he needed approval all the way to the top of the food chain which leads to the attorney general. >> we still didn't find out what was behind it, but it does get worse. thingets was >> this was a cover-up from day one. >> let's stop all the hyperventilating and get to the facts. the gun walking programs began under president bush. to track the flow of weapons to mexican cartels. in december of 2010, two guns under the program turned up at the murder scene of border patrol agent brian terry sparking the gop probe. since then, republican congressman daryl issa has challenged holder, but democrats say the republicans have gone too far. >> you now appear intent on
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escalating controversy and promoting unsubstantiated allegations in a campaign that looks more like an election year witch hunt than even-handed investigation. >> joining me now is congressman elijah cummings, democrat from maryland and ranking member of the committee on oversight and government reform which has been investigating the fast and furious program. thank you for joining me, congressman. >> it's good to be with you, reverend. >> now let me ask you, are the republicans interested in a fair and balanced investigation here? >> absolutely not. chairman issa over the past ten months, actually before that was accusing eric holder of approving gun walking and nothing could be further from the truth. and he has constantly made allegations, and they were allegations, reverend, where he was searching for facts to go with them, but he could not find the facts to go with them. and i think he's treated eric
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holder, our attorney general, very unfairly. >> now the thing that really got my attention is even the tone of the hearings have become somewhat disrespectful. >> no doubt about it. >> and hostile. let me show you one encounter with the attorney general. >> how many more border patrol agents would have had to die as a part of "operation fast and furious" for you to take responsibility? >> as a member of congress, you know, i mean, really, i mean is that the way in which you want to be seen? you want to be known? >> i mean, congressman cummings, if the program started under bush, clearly this situation in 2010 when the two guns were found at the body of this person, this patrol -- border patrolman who had given his life for this country, to act as though the attorney general is
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not taking -- how many people would have to die? isn't this the height of using some kind of demagogic kind of politician politics when we ought to seriously be trying to find out what went wrong and how to correct it? >> no doubt about it. i don't in many instances it was an effort to truly address what did happen. now keep in mind as you said at the beginning of your broadcast, this stuff started -- this actual gun walking started back in 2006. went on in 2007. and then it continued for -- actually three operations under president bush. when the justice department higher ups found out about gun walking, the first thing they did, they said, look. we've got to stop this. basically it was run from the phoenix office of the atf. and it was a bottom-up operation. again, eric holder never -- did not know about these tactics. when he found out, he
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immediately requested an ig investigation and immediately said we are simply not going to have this. as a matter of fact, the (5 it's 95 pages. entitled "fatally flawed." and where we show every single allegation that they made is refuted. and by the way, the report comes from the evidence that they presented. that is the republicans presented. >> so this is the democratic report, and you have issued this report and everything that was charged, this was a cover-up. your report says false. it goes to the very top. your report says false. under -- using crisis to limit second amendment rights, your report says false. >> that's right. and keep in mind, as far as they talk about second amendment rights, reverend. but what happened was when the -- when the whistleblowers came in to testify, these are witnesses called by chairman issa, you know what they told
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us? they said, look, the problem is that we need stronger gun laws. that's what has led to all of this. and you know what he did? he basically shut them down and said, i don't want to talk about that. these were law enforcement officers who go out there and give their blood, sweat and tears saying, please give us stronger gun laws. and we cannot get strong enough penalty for -- purchases. we want a gun law which says that when you are taking guns out of the legal traffic of guns and putting them into illegal, we want something to stop that. basically chairman issa just shut them down. >> congressman, as you said, these operations have been going on for quite some time. 2006 it was "operation wide receiver." 2007 "hernandez case. 2008, the mendrano case. all of these are the same kinds of operations. >> that's right. >> let me ask you something. >> yes, sir. >> i see the raking of the coals or the attempt on attorney general holder.
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has the former attorney generals that started these programs, mr. mukasey, who was the attorney general at the end of the bush years, who started these programs, has he gone before this committee to explain why he did it and what he did? >> the -- he has not been called for an interview. and he has not appeared at a hearing. >> so wait a minute. so they are investigating a program, but the ones that started it and set it up have not -- >> and knew about it. and knew about it, by the way. they did not call them. they did not call mukasey. and as i -- and has not said he will call him. by the way, the head of atf who said he didn't know about it, that is the atf head under -- while the president -- president obama was in office said he didn't know about it and there's not one -- and he said he did not inform the attorney general, nor did anybody else above him inform the attorney general.
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but we could have easily have solved this hearing by bringing in that attorney general -- the head of the atf. but he refused to bring him, too. that would have cleared it all up. >> didn't bring the atf or the attorney general. looks like more fast and furious stuff going on than the name of the program. congressman cummings, thanks for joining us. up next, how the republicans don't let the facts get in the way of their attacks on the president. stay with us.
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welcome back. sometimes in their effort to never give president obama credit, republicans are actually funny. unintentionally funny. after last week's strong jobs numbers they said, quote, we can do better. that's pretty funny since they used to say the sky is falling.
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but their spin is even funnier when it comes to the president's stimulus money. >> president obama's economic policies have failed working americans. >> the policies such as the failed stimulus -- >> we've seen all of this before, and it has failed. >> we don't believe the stimulus worked last time. >> that's right. they hate it so much they actually take credit for it. >> we can create a lot of jobs. again, the estimates of job creations are 85,000 to 160,000-some jobs for the commonwealth. most of that in this area. >> eric canter is not the only one. a whole group of republicans has nothing good to say about the stimulus, unless there's a giant check or ground-breaking in their home district. there is a serious point in all of this. facts matter. the right wing core said the stimulus didn't work. but check out this chart.
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it shows the weekly number of people filing for jobless claims is at its lowest level in four years. today. it also highlights the fall from that peak. see right where the claims started falling off? it happens to be happening right after the stimulus passed. what a coincidence. and here's another one of our favorites. showing private sector job growth under president obama and george w. bush. what do you know? that uptick in job creation came again right after the stimulus passed. in november, the congressional budget office said the stimulus added up to 3.3 million jobs. we'll say it again. republicans can have their own opinions, but they can't have their own facts. and here's the fact on the stimulus, it
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